Judge outraged after offence at Craigavon Courthouse

Judge outraged after offence at Craigavon Courthouse

The case was heard at Craigavon Magistrates' Court.

Staff Reporter

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Wednesday 14 September 2022 10:00

A defendant, who threw a water bottle and hit another male at Craigavon Courthouse, has been jailed pending appeal for “a moment of madness”.

The case of Conal Patrick Lavery, (33), of Ardowen, Craigavon, was heard at Craigavon Courthouse sitting on Friday, September 9.

The court heard that on March 24 this year, police were in attendance upstairs at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court.

Police observed an elderly male and two other younger males walk towards the stairs, with a male situated in the corner outside Court 2.

Police heard the individual male say something to the group of males present, with the defendant being observed running from behind towards the edge of the staircase.

Lavery had a water bottle in his hand and he was seen throwing it at the male, striking him to the left hand side of his jaw.

Officers ran to apprehend the defendant but Lavery ran towards the male and struck him to the face with his fist.

The injured party fell to the floor and stated he was unconscious and police restrained the defendant, with CCTV footage showing the incident in its entirety.

In his defence, a solicitor outlined it was rather “concerning” where the incident took place and it was an altercation after he was a relative of a victim.

It was conceded that Lavery reacted badly to words that were exchanged between the pair but that it was out of character for him as he has a limited record and is in full-time employment.

The defence added that the defendant pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and that he realises what he did was wrong. Furthermore, it was pointed out that probation had the assessment that Lavery is at a low likelihood of re-offending.

District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “In order for justice to be maintained, it has to be free and it has to be open.

“Anyone seeking redress should be free to come before the courts and whether that it’s in the form of the criminal court, civil courts, or any other of the courts services provided.

“It is an essential ingredient in a free and democratic society, in fact so much so, it gets several references in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

“Therefore, it goes almost without saying, that in order to preserve those rights no-one should ever be placed in fear of attending a courthouse – whatever the purpose of their business.

“Anyone who disrupts that is clearly endangering the justice system.

“There are certain places that should be sacrosanct in terms of your attendance, your presence and your behaviour, one of those for example is the local hospital but another one is this court building.

“No one here present should engage in any inappropriate behaviour let alone violence.”

The Judge imposed a three month custodial sentence for each of the two charges.

Lavery wished to appeal the sentence and was released on bail.

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